Side-by-Side Comparison of Satellite Ice Thickness Products

Sinead Farrell, ESSIC/CICS Associate Research Scientist, has recently published an assessment of sea ice thickness products from satellites alongside co-authors from the Finnish Meteorological Institute and University of Maryland’s Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Science.

The researchers looked at eight years of sea ice thickness observations derived from measurements of CryoSat-2 (CS2), Advanced Very-High-Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) and Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity (SMOS) satellites.  They focused on key details of primary interest to users, such as how quickly the data was available and its spatial and temporal resolution.

They found a number of key differences among data products.  The data showed that CS2 measurements are reliable for sea ice thickness, particularly between ~ 0.5 and 4 m.  For thin ice, a blended CS2-SMOS product was the most reliable.  Regional comparisons reveal noticeable differences in ice thickness between products, particularly in the marginal seas, which are areas of considerable ship traffic.

In addition to her work at ESSIC and CICS-MD, Sinead Farrell is a visiting scientist at the Laboratory for Satellite Altimetry, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Center for Weather and Climate Prediction (NCWCP), and an affiliate of the Cryospheric Sciences Branch at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC).  She is also a principal investigator on the NASA/NOAA Ocean Surface Topography Science Team as well as the NASA ICESat-2 Science Definition Team.

To read the article, click here: “Assessment of contemporary satellite sea ice thickness products for Arctic sea ice”.